Is Ponting Heaving Pressure Or Trying Psychological Tactics With Personal Jitters About Playing The Lankans ?
Posted on March 4th, 2011

Top Spin By Suni

March 5th 2011

Aussie Skipper Ricky Ponting has made a few remarks to the media indicative of his state of mind before the Aussies play Sri Lanka on Saturday saying “the pressure on the home side to win the Group A match is huge” but is it really what he implies? The pressure will always be there in every game of the tournament both for the prestige of winning as well as the importance to advance to the next round but the way Ponting has portrayed it it is almost a prediction of an Aussie victory and may be a means to reassure himself  that they in fact could well be humbled by the home team based on a few simple criteria.

Australia may have an unbeaten streak of 31 World Cup matches, dating back to May 23, 1999 but this is 2011 when the Aussies have had their share of ODI defeats some quite comprehensively, they’ve slipped their ranking and aren’t the same powerhouse team that played the Lankans in the final in the Carribean 4 years ago where the credibilities of both teams go on the line for certain at Premadasa Stadium, but the relaxed tone of Ponting’s voice may be a front for the jitters he probably carries within himself watching the buildup of the Lankan’s towards this game and are looking in good nick with the big guns both in batting and bowling well primed for the big occasion and probably rearing to have a go at the Aussies to make Ponting jittery ! This will probably be confirmed by the number of times he so disgustingly spits into his hands in front of the camera as the game progresses !
Kumar Sangakkara on the other hand appears to be the cool customer he always is with no irascible comments or bragging to the press as he probably knows the capacity of his team to to perform well but he should be a bit more imaginative in his field setting  as well as the importance of the accent to attack rather than set a defensive field merely yo keep the runs down as that was what probably cost him the Pakistan game!
Murali in particular sounds like he is licking his chops at the prospect of confronting the Aussies in his own backyard and don’t be surprised if he turns out to be a match winner in anticipation, with Ajanta Mendis tightening the screws on the Aussies from the other end, the Malinga factor notwithstanding. Hopefully his opposit pacies will be a good pick and Dilhara Fernando who has always bowled in aggressive attacking mode against the Aussise a good option provided he is not overly erratic with his whistlers around Aussie helmets ot wide of the leg stump!

The Australian skipper says “he is keen to exploit what he sees as ‘a few cracks’ in Sri Lanka’s line-up” and in so doing seems to have provided incentives for the Lankan to seal them if they do exist and come at the Aussies with a veangeance as they always do on subcontinental wickets. They did in 1996 ! and Ponting’s conjecture a bit premature as well as a means towards reassuring his own doubts about how his team might perform under pressure. A bit of reverse psychology perhaps!

True enough the Lankans have made a mixed start to the tournament, winning two games while losing to Pakistan by 11 runs which defeat was a comedy of errors where the win was there for the Lankans. There are some grey areas such as accurate throwing at the stumps and running between wickets which are but correctable anomalies from a cricketing perspective.

Having returned to the fray, strike bowler Lasith Malinga’s fiery spell of 6-38, including a hat-trick against associates Kenya in Colombo must surely have been closely scrutinised on video replays by the Aussies while fancying their own chances against him and more than likely researching the best way to approach his inswinging yorkers and deadly accurate line and length which must cause a few tremors of anticipation in the Aussie camp where the Sri Lankan attack is more than likely to cause problems for the defending champions where there is no squash ball grippig Gilchrist to boolster their batting lineup this time either.

Furthermore for the record,  and as reported ~there is no provocation whatsoever for the  Aussies in the wake of wins over Zimbabwe and New Zealand (not the greatest of opposition all things considered) to ‘sense’ as reported that ” all is not well with the Trevor Bayliss-coached Sri Lankans who  to the contrary seem to be brimming with confidence that their momentum at the time they meet the Aussies on Saturday will click into high gear and Bayliss in all probabilities will be quite proud of his team’s performance .
The new wicket at Premadasa  may  not be a turner as much as it was reputed for previously and showing more pace and bounce in it  judging by how it has played lately particularly in the Canada – Pakistan match where the quicker bowlers seemed to get a bit of life out of it and should serve the Lankan pace and spin attack well where winning  the toss in this instance could turn out to be crucial and Murphy’s Law perhaps favouring Kumar Sangakkara!
 
Ponting’s chinwag to the media has been indicative of how much he and his team rests on the laurels of 2003 and 2007 and has downplayed Lasith Malinga’s effectivity which he says could be countered by the style of straight playing Shane Watson but they are faced with much more than the  Malinga factor in the overall Sri Lankan attack as there appears to be a certain queasiness about Ponting’s demeanour that the Aussies in their first real opposition in the 2011 World Cup could find the Lankans to be quite daunting!

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